Huron County, ON
05 June 2015
My good friends John and Geraldine Sanderson have as part of their birding year, a day at Hullett Marsh and this year I was invited along. Joining us were Curtiss MacDonald and Bob Mundy and a fine group we made. The entire day was enjoyable from start to finish, with much good humour and camaraderie to supplement a fine day of nature observance. Miriam had already planned a weekend away at Niagara Falls with old friends from her high school days, but she regretted very much not being able to come along with us.
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas was, as might be expected at this time of year in a marshland setting, ubiquitous.
It is always thrilling, no matter how many times I have seen it, to observe males singing from an elevated perch. They throw their whole body into their wichety-wichety song, trembling and shuddering as though in ecstasy.
A Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus was perched high atop a snag in the distance, another indication of just how well this magnificent bird of prey has recovered from the dark days of organochlorine pesticides and wanton human persecution.
Tree Swallows Tachycineta bicolor swooped and glided everywhere we travelled and many were nesting in the abundant nesting boxes provided for both Tree Swallows and Eastern Bluebird Sialia sialis. Here is a female Tree Swallow poking her head out to survey the world.
Birds were our main focus, but they were not of course the only attraction. There were many butterflies around including this Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta.
The dramatic and beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus was not hard to spot.
As has been noted in an earlier post this is the season for turtles to clamber out of the water and seek suitable ground in which to lay their eggs.
We encountered Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina.......
....... and Midland Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta marginata.
They had obviously been laying for a while because several nests had already been discovered by racoons or other predators and the eggs eaten.
Only a very small percentage of the eggs laid ever result in adult turtles. Many nests are destroyed before the eggs even hatch and when the hatchlings that survive the nesting stage make it to the water, there is an entire host of predators waiting to make a meal of them. Nature is evidently well-balanced, however, because there is a healthy population of both species.
As mentioned at the beginning it was a wonderful day out, shared with like-minded people who were fine companions. To top it all off, we stopped at an old country store where Curtiss treated us to ice cream - a tradition we intend to hold him to long into the future!
Thank you John and Geraldine for inviting me.